Who wants to be a VJ?

Ever since cable television hit our shores,youngsters around the country have emulated them. They were perceived to have the right mix of attitude,wit,style and substance.

Written by Pooja Pillai | Published:January 19, 2009 1:03 am

The concept of the VJ has changed,but so has their iconic status

Ever since cable television hit our shores,youngsters around the country have emulated them. They were perceived to have the right mix of attitude,wit,style and substance. Video jockeys,also knows as VJs or veejays,suddenly gave competition to doctors,engineers and lawyers,as people to ‘become when you grow up’ and as music channels multiplied,so did the VJs.

But circa 2009,when MTV launches four new faces — Anmol,Shambhavi,Deepti and Jose — one must ask,does anyone really care? The day of the iconic video jockey is long gone. Ask anyone to name one and chances are that it will be a Malaika Arora or Cyrus Broacha,the two original Indian VJs from over a decade.

Ex-VJ Maria Goretti blames the proliferation of music channels for the death of the Iconic VJ. “Originally,there were just two music channels— MTV and Channel [V and they introduced the concept of veejaying to India. VJs were the epitome of cool and were like stars in their own right.” Now she feels that the concept has been diluted. She feels that because the demand has increased,the quality has deteriorated. “They aren’t looking for talent anymore. Anyone can be a VJ now.”

“VJs are not regular TV anchors,” says Sheetal Sudhir,VP and creative director at Channel [V,“They’re the face of the channel and they represent the values that the channel wants to project. So when you see a Lola Kutty,you know which channel it is.” Ex-VJ Sophie Chaudhary echoes: “For instance,if it’s Cyrus Broacha you’re talking about,MTV Bakra immediately comes to mind.”

Chaudhary,who claims to be a traditionalist,too feels that with the death of classic veejaying,there isn’t much scope left in the profession. “VJs these days don’t have the same opinions and passions anymore. They’re no longer specialists.” Chaudhary says that that’s the reason why she’s stopped veejaying. “The kind of passion and knowledge that was once displayed by VJs is missing now. There are just too many channels and too many faces and you don’t know which VJ is on what show.”

According to Cyrus Sahukar,the profession has only got more popular. “Every day I meet people who tell me they want to be VJs as well,” he says. He feels that things aren’t too bad and that the original VJ concept had to be adapted to changing times. “There is too much happening these days and you have to learn to innovate,” he says,“It isn’t good enough to just be a VJ in the sense that you host a music show. You have to branch out into other things— spoofs,mock-umentaries. In fact,it’s been years since I veejayed in the traditional sense.”

But that’s precisely what Goretti says has caused veejaying to lose its charm. “MTV and Channel [V used to play pure,unadulterated music earlier,” she says,“Now there’re too many shows and VJs are expected to do too many things.” She agrees that VJs are a lot more approachable these days,“But then,they lose that aura of mystery and stardom that they once had.”

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